Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sustainable growth? Look at Monterey County!

Monterey County, CA (A) has just launched its intensive program of growth. The friends there are using several approaches in various locations in the cluster. A combination of direct teaching, home visits and firesides resulted in registrations of 7 adults and 7 children. This has been followed by a systematic effort to get new believers into core activities. Some of the new Bahá’ís have opened their homes for children’s class and junior youth group.

A very intriguing approach is being used to ensure the growth of children’s classes in a sustainable manner:

While children are attending the children’s class, the parents are taking Ruhi 3. Having reached the time to practice their new skills, the parents are now taking turns teaching the class. The class has a special format, with younger children (2 and 3 years old) joining the “older” children, so that the parents can attend the Ruhi 3. Soon, with accompaniment, the parents will be able to take over this children’s class, or start new neighborhood children’s classes of their own! . . .

An ongoing Ruhi Book 1 study circle in the cluster is attended by many youth from several religious backgrounds. The study circle participants together went on a camping trip. One of the organizers gives an account.

We just completed a camping trip with 13 youth from the Ruhi 1 study circle. Joining us was one other couple who were parents of one of the youth in the group. Before the trip, I prayed for several things: That we would have the opportunity for a fireside with this couple, that they would be receptive to the Faith, that we would be able to do part of the Ruhi 1 study circle for them to observe, and that everyone would return home safely. I am happy to say that all of my prayers were answered beyond my expectation.

That night we had an amazing fireside (literally—around the campfire) with this couple. They were very interested. The next morning, the youth sat around the campfire again and we completed a few of the sections of Book 1 on Prayer. The discussion was amazing (the youth represent Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Bahá’í backgrounds). As this section of Ruhi 1 discusses the importance of reading the Writings every morning and evening, I offered to give everyone a small Bahá’í prayer book to read if they wanted it. One of the parents came up to me afterwards to make sure he got one! We all had a most incredible weekend full of fun and great spirit.

No comments: